People feel strongly about Old Town’s Waterfront. We all know that. It’s been the source of bitter lawsuits, extreme joy, and everything in between. I’ve noticed that whenever I’ve posted something on our social channels there is a strong and visceral response from people. We’ve, Miles and I, have got our thoughts on how Alexandria’s grand and glorious park at the foot of King Street and the river’s edge should look. It is Alexandria’s crown jewel after all. Instead of just chatting about it with each other we thought we’d do a little series on the blog.
Much of this is inspired from our month in Europe. We spent time in London, a few days in Rome, and a couple weeks on a luxury cruise aboard Oceania’s Marina. We visited ports in France, Italy, and Spain. We’ve got some ideas!
Some of our favorite stops for waterfront inspiration were St Tropes, Monte Carlo, Nice, Mallorca, Amalfi, Sorrento, Corsica and Antibes. Each was gorgeous. Each was it’s own unique spot. Each had an air of class. Which I think is what we’re still going for in Old Town.
Perhaps, more importantly, each put thoughtful details into their waterfront. Our feeling on the waterfront is it should honor who we are, versus trying to imitate some shiny supersized waterfronts elsewhere. To do so is inconsistent with our character, our history, and frankly our budget.
We are historic Old Town, Alexandria. We are the third oldest port city in the United States. Let’s make our waterfront fun, contemporary, and classy while giving a nod to our history.
First thing, we need a carousel. All the cool port cities in France have them! They’re fun and scream nostalgic Americana. And just like ice cream, they are good for both kids and romantic dates — which is very Old Town!
Our carousel needs to be grand and glossy and placed smack dab at the foot of King Street. The theme of our carousel should honor and illustrate Alexandria’s history. Now this, a carousel, would make for a unique and memorable waterfront centerpiece!
To the point of the carousel, and this is important, we need to make sure we don’t half-ass it like we did with the current mismatched furniture in Waterfront Park. (I am sorry to say that but we did screw it up. That furniture is awful. It does not flow. I’ve heard from a lot of people that agree with me.)
Everything going into the next park, the permanent park, needs to be well thought out and something we are able to fund. The last thing we want to do is come off as something less than we are. We are, in fact, Old Town.
Private donations. Waiting for years until we save the money. Whatever it takes. Just please don’t get something cheap or inconsistent with our historical narrative.
The carousel that we’ve featured was in Antibes on the French Riviera. You’ll notice the many illustrations on the ride. Illustrations on Old Town’s carousel could be consistent with our thriving art scene. The artwork could (and should, in my opinion) be unique illustrations of Alexandria since its founding in 1749 — pre-dating that of the United States of America.
Old Town Antibes actually reminded us of our Old Town — plus a few hundred years and a distinctly French flair (to read more about our experience you can check out our “postcard” from the trip). It also had a thriving art scene and it reminded us of our Torpedo Factory. We thought of home when we walked among the galleries housed in the ramparts that once protected their city.
One additional aesthetic note, the grassy situation at the foot of King Street has been sparse and muddy lately though temporally corrected with new sod. While the grass was well intentioned the tremendous success and draw of Waterfront Park and all the great activities planned there has produced more foot traffic than we think was anticipated. Bravo Alx! A more permanent solution to our mud and grass would be the carousel as it would be placed on concrete. The Antibes carousel and the surrounding area was all paved. And it looked great!
Please, Alexandria, just think about the carousel. It’s whimsical and fun! And could be artsy and historical — just like Old Town!
Ok. There’s our (ok, mostly Jennifer’s) passionate plea for a carousel at the foot of King Street. We’ve got another post coming soon on what else we think would be really sweet to have on Old Town’s glorious waterfront. We got some inspiration from Corsica, Napoleon’s birthplace, for something in the Jones Point area. Stay tuned!
If you’re not already, be sure to follow our adventures on Instagram!